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CBIC Launches Multi-Modal Campaign Against Fraudulent Customs Officers

New Delhi: The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has initiated a comprehensive public awareness campaign to combat rising incidents of fraud involving individuals posing as Indian Customs officers. These fraudsters, using digital means such as phone calls and SMS, are deceiving the public into parting with their hard-earned money under the threat of immediate penal action.

To counter these scams, CBIC’s multi-modal awareness campaign includes:

  • Newspaper Advertisements: Informing the public about the fraud and preventive measures.
  • SMS/Emails: Direct communications to the general public warning them of these scams.
  • Social Media Campaigns: Utilizing platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to spread awareness.
  • Public Awareness Campaigns: Coordinated efforts by CBIC field formations across the country, in collaboration with local administration and trade bodies, to educate people about these fraudulent activities.

CBIC advises the public to take the following measures to protect themselves:

  • DISCERN: Indian Customs officers never contact the public via phone, SMS, or email to demand payment of duty in private accounts. If you suspect fraud, disconnect the call or ignore the message.
  • PROTECT: Do not share personal information (such as passwords, CVV, Aadhar number) or send money to unknown individuals or organizations without verifying their identity and legitimacy.
  • VERIFY: Any communication from Indian Customs will contain a Document Identification Number (DIN), which can be verified on the CBIC website: DIN Verification.

Some common tactics used by fraudsters include:

  • Fake Calls/SMS: Posing as courier officials or staff, fraudsters claim that Customs have held a package or parcel and demand payment of duties or taxes for its release.
  • Pressure Tactics: Impersonating Customs, Police, or CBI officials, fraudsters demand payment for Customs duty or clearance fees for packages or gifts allegedly received from abroad, insisting on immediate payment to avoid legal action.
  • Demand of Money: Fraudsters inform targets that their package has been seized by Customs due to illegal contents (such as drugs, foreign currency, fake passports, contraband items) and threaten legal action unless a payment is made to resolve the issue.

CBIC urges the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities to the authorities to help curb this growing menace.

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